Common divorce questions answered Part 2

Continuing in our series of blogs, Linda Hunter, Head of Family Law at Rowlinsons Solicitors has put together a list of some of the most common questions asked by client’s going through a divorce when it comes to the issue of money.

What is a Consent Order?

A Consent Order is a type of Order that is made by agreement between the parties. Often when looking at the finances following a relationship breakdown, a couple are able to reach an agreement about how their finances should be divided. A Consent Order is a formal Court Order that sets out what needs to take place.

Often, such an Order is expressed to be a ‘clean break’. This means that once the Order is approved by the Court, and once it has been implemented, the parties’ claims for financial settlement against each other can be brought to an end.

It is important to understand the terms and effect of a Consent Order before it is signed, and important to understand whether there is a full clean break or not. To obtain advice from Rowlinsons, or to organise an initial free no obligation consultation, please telephone 01928 735333 and ask to speak with the family department.

What is a pension sharing order?

A pension Sharing Order is a type of Financial Order made in divorce or dissolution proceedings. It is an Order that requires a percentage of a total pension to be transferred or shared into a pension in the other party’s name.

If you need advice about a pension sharing order, or to organise an initial free no obligation consultation, please telephone 01928 735333 and ask to speak with the family department.

What is a pension attachment order.

A pension attachment order is a type of Financial Order made in divorce or dissolution proceedings. It is an Order that requires a percentage of a pension to be paid on retirement each month or each year to the other person.

If you need advice about a pension attachment order, or to organise an initial free no obligation consultation, please telephone 01928 735333 and ask to speak with the family department.

Do I have to share my pension when I divorce?

Once a divorce or dissolution petition is issued, it may be possible for either party to pursue an application for a financial settlement order. This application may be pursued at any stage until a final financial order is made, even after a final order or decree absolute. It is important therefore to be aware of these potential financial settlement claims when dealing with divorce or dissolution proceedings.

Parties are always encouraged to try and negotiate a financial agreement themselves, whether with the help of a solicitor, collaborative lawyer or mediator. To help you reach an agreement, your solicitor, collaborative lawyer or mediator will usually ask you both to exchange your financial information. This is often done in the form of a formal financial statement, but can sometimes be a list voluntarily agreed to be disclosed by each of you. There is an obligation on both parties to fully, frankly and openly disclose to the other their financial information, and to provide supporting documentation, such as payslips, pension details, mortgage statements etc as required. The information you will need to disclose includes details of income, properties, pensions, savings and investments, debts, and any other financial matters of relevance. It is important that full financial information is exchanged so that you can make an informed decision about whether a proposal or settlement is fair and reasonable.

If you cannot reach agreement, either party can apply to the Court for financial orders. The Court can make a number of different orders to resolve your finances after divorce/dissolution including:-

  • Property adjustment orders –dealing with whether a property should be transferred to one party or the other;
  • Orders for Sale - dealing with whether a property should be sold and if so when and what should happen to the proceeds of sale,
  • Lump sum orders – requiring one party to pay a cash lump sum, (sometimes by instalments), to the other party;
  • Pension attachment orders – requiring a percentage of a pension to be paid on retirement each month or each year to the other person;
  • Pension sharing orders – requiring a percentage of a total pension to be transferred or shared into a pension in the other party’s name;
  • Pension offsetting order – instead of taking a pension share or attachment, the value of a pension is offset against some other asset eg the home;
  • Periodical payments orders – an order for monthly payments to be paid by one party to the other, this can be for a child, or  for a spouse/civil partner
  • Interim periodical payments orders – financial support paid during the course of the proceedings and ending when the Court  makes the final order;
  • Orders for the sale or transfer of a business asset

Whether in your particular case a pension will have to be shared on divorce will depend on the circumstances on the case, and the financial positions of both of you. It would be important to get independent legal advice to understand what your options are, and to understand what each person may be entitled to. To obtain advice from Rowlinsons, or to organise an initial free no obligation appointment, please telephone 01928 735333 and ask to speak with the family department.

What is a Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing?

The Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing, or FDR is a hearing that takes place in financial settlement proceedings between a married couple, or a couple in a civil partnership. At this hearing, both parties are encouraged to spend time at Court negotiating a financial settlement if possible. The Court will look at the information and evidence and will try and help you both negotiate an agreement by giving an indication of what types of orders it considers suitable.

If you have been ordered to attend an FDR hearing, or if you need any further information about financial settlement proceedings, please telephone Rowlinsons Solicitors on 01928 735333 and ask to speak with the family department.